If you own a boat, most likely, you’ve enjoyed cruising up and down waterways with your family and friends. But before long, cooler temperatures will arrive and you’ll need to put away your boat. That’s why it’s important you know how to properly prepare your boat for storage so it can be in good shape next season. Here are three basic guidelines for preparing and storing your boat during the off season, along with some considerations and warnings.
1. TAKE YOUR BOAT FOR A FINAL SPIN
First, you’ll need to take your boat out for one last ride so that you can detect anything that doesn’t seem right. Listen carefully for possible issues with the engine. If you do find anything wrong, get the problem fixed immediately before storing your boat. Ignoring the condition can result in the problem becoming worse while your boat sits idle in storage. Check out our blog on boat safety here.
2. COMPLETELY DRAIN YOUR BOAT
The next step is to completely drain your boat after removing it from the water. When draining it, be sure to drain the water tanks, bilge, pipes, the head and seacocks. Next, add antifreeze. This is especially important if your boat is being stored in a place that isn’t climate controlled.
3. REFUEL AND CHANGE THE ENGINE OIL
Although refueling your boat may not make sense at first, it’s important because it helps in preventing moisture from accumulating and causing damage. Be sure to add a high-quality fuel stabilizer to avoid fuel deterioration from your boat sitting idly for several months. When fuel deteriorates, which can occur within two months, gum and varnish buildup can affect engine performance. This can make your boat hard to start as well as compromise the lifespan of the engine.
4. DETERMINE THE BEST STORAGE PLACE
There are several options for storing a boat.
- If you have room in your garage, this may be the best option even though it will mean having to give up a lot of space.
- If you’re thinking about indoor storage, choose a facility that has good security.
- Many boat owners use dry stacked storage, which involves multiple boats being stored in a warehouse.
- There’s also outdoor storage, which may be a good choice if you live in a mild climate. Marina storage can also be a storage option for areas not subjected to freezing weather.
OTHER CONSIDERATIONS AND WARNINGS
- Before putting your boat in storage, remove any belts to prevent them from cracking or snapping.
- Thoroughly check fuel lines and hoses, as well as refill levels.
- Before using your boat after it’s been stored, test all the electronics, including every button, switch and knob. Also, watch out for possible circuit problems.